Thursday, July 5, 2018

Amazing Adventures Worth Embarking On

Hi all,

Thought a roundup of dream trips might be fun, given its summer and all, plus this is primarily a travel blog ;-) or at least that used to be the main topic.  Therefore, here are several travel adventures Ive either stumbled across in reading other blogs or books on travel, and think would be the more fantastic, awe inspiring, unique of adventures.

Slovenia for a week or so.  One of the lest visited, lest touristy places in Europe (though I imagine thatll soon be changing), people generally tending more towards places like Spain, France, and Italy.  Slovenia though, looks just as enchanting and jaw dropping in different ways.  Like something out of an ethereal, Lord of the Rings esque, storybook fairy tale.

Some of the supposed cannot-miss-ems in Slovenia include:

--Lake Bled.  Yes, everyone claims this spot is a must see, though from what Ive read, for good reason.  Dont think this is one thats "overrated," so to speak.  Instead, I think its one of those places that absolutely lives up to all the raves.

--Postojna Cave.  The Slovenian underground apparently contains thousands of caves.  Of those, only 22 are open to the public!  This one is the most visited, filled with caverns, halls, and passages.  Inside the cave, there are gorgeous kast formations, some of which are millions of years old.  Several times a year, there are even concerts held inside the cave.

--Triglav National Park.  Emerald green waters.  Arresting scenery of mountain ranges and forests abound. Explored via wooden walkways like these, winding their ways through the wilderness.

--Soca Valley.  More emerald green waters.  Ideal for hikers, white water rafting, and nature lovers.  Its been my dream for years to go white water rafting.  Though the idea really scares me, it also thrills me.  The movie, "The River Wild" is what first sparked this yearning/draw in my heart, and since then I have wanted to do it.  Here in Soca Valley seems a rather ideal spot for such.

--Predjama Castle.  Built partially in a cave, extending out into the side of a mountain.

A couple way cool spots to stay in Slovenia...

A treehouse at Garden Village Bled

Raduha.  Like tree houses or huts on stilts.  Rooms are listed at about $200 per night but when booking last minute, rooms have been listed for $70 per night!

Second trip idea/once in a lifetime opportunity (also, one of my own dream desires): travel around Europe for something like 3 months, all in one fell swoop/stretch.

Here is something like what my itinerary would look like:

Starting in Morocco, which I realize isnt Europe but is close enough that I would totally toss it in the beginning of the trip (assuming I hadn't yet been there).  Then, onto Portugal (Porto or the Algarves), followed by Spain (not sure where, but Id stay in one city for a few days).  Next would be:

--the south of France, aka the French Riviera (Ive been there already, but would explore new cities and villages to which I wasnt able to go last time).
--Then, onto southern Italy.
--After that would be Greece, then Turkey, and then on up to Hungary.
--Then to Slovenia, followed by Prague, and then venturing up to at least one town in Poland, though preferably two.
--Then to Berlin for a couple days and then hopping a flight on up to Copenhagen.
--From there, to Amsterdam for a few days.  Then possibly Bruges in Belgium.
--And finally, up to Edinburgh, Scotland.
--Then, back to the USA.

To save money, I recommend unlimited monthly train passes, staying in hostels (trust me, coming from a majorly anti-hostel person, I can attest that there are numerous available which are clean, cozy, quiet, akin to hotel rooms.  You just need to choose carefully) or renting places on Airbnb.  Its absolutely possible to do this affordably without blowing a hole in your wallet.

Third far flung fantasy, must see place idea: Paro Taktsang (also known as Tigers Nest) Monastery in Bhutan.  A prominent Himalayan spot which is a small collection of buildings, perched precariously on a cliffs edge, overlooking a vast sweeping of the earth below.  Its a sacred Buddhist site located near Paro, Bhutan.  The buildings consist of four monasteries and residential lodging for the monks living on site.  Despite tourists visits, it still functions as a monastery.

You must take off your shoes, put aside all belongings, and leave your camera in order to enter.  Hence, why there are zero photos of the inside of the monasteries to be found online.  I imagine this is an incredible, emotionally moving, jaw dropping, poignant experience.  And have read, from fellow adventurers who have done this, that its not to be missed.  That it was one of the top experiences of their travels.  Its now towards the top of my list.

Trip number four: I would love to visit Israel.  While not especially of Christian belief myself (I dont really identify with any particular religion.  More along the lines of Buddhism though if I had to align with a particular belief system, this seems to be the one of which its values and beliefs most resonate with my own), I imagine going to Israel would be a fascinating and absolutely awesome experience.  Both for the stunning scenery, the fascinating history, the beautiful beaches, and more.

To name the especially alluring spots in this country (at least for me):

--The Dead Sea
--Tel Aviv
--Sea of Galilee

The Dead Sea.

Tel Aviv


Sea of Galilee


Trip #5: Africa, for sure.  There are several places in Africa to which I long to venture.

--Seeing mountain gorillas in the wild, to name one.  There are less than 600 left in the world, and Ive read that seeing them in their natural environment is one of the more poignant, powerful experiences a person can have (Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is where you can go and see them.  They reside in Rwanda and Uganda).

(A fascinating article about one persons experience).

--Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe looks mind blowing.

--Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania- Africa's highest peak, and on many peoples bucket lists for climbing.  Also, around the base of the mountain are some of Africa's best wildlife parks and reserves.

--The Sahara Dunes in Morocco.

--As well as Djemaa el Fna, in the heart of Marrakech, Morocco, said to be the worlds most exciting town square.  Abound with snake charmers, story tellers, henna painters, date sellers, and orange juice vendors.  As night falls, delicious food is cooked and served from various stalls.

--Cape Town in South Africa.

--Sossusvlei Namib Desert National Park in Namibia- climbing a massive sand dune is said to be exhilarating, and then staring down on the views of the never-ending sand plains below, a ghostly expanse of white clay littered with camelthorn trees, sounds amazing.  I imagine, some of the most unique landscape one has ever seen or encountered.

--Speaking of Namibia, the worlds oldest desert is here.  Namibia boosts a vast array of wildlife, national parks, shipwrecks, and larger than life sand dunes.  It also remains shockingly uncrowded.

--The great pyramids in Egypt are of course, an absolute must.

The next dream trip I feel is worthy of doing in ones life: bicycling for at least a week, throughout a state in the US, or across/through another country!  This sounds romantic, laid back, exciting, fulfilling, and with incredible scenery to boot.  Most of the trips eat in unique and generally pretty awesome restaurants along the way, and stay at night in either charming little B&Bs or pretty nice hotels.

Here is a link with some neat bicycle vacation ideas in the US.

And here is a link with some awesome looking bicycle trips in Europe.

Next trip on the dream docket: New Zealand.  For ideally two weeks, as the flight there is something around 15-20 hours and is quite expensive.  Plus, there is MUCH to see in this country, made up of two main islands (and about 600 much smaller ones).

I didn't have much interest in New Zealand until recently.  Now, its shot up towards the top of my list.  The scenery looks arrestingly gorgeous.  They are known for having one of the highest qualities of life in the world.  Low cost to nearly free health care, easy to find work there for a wide range of people and professions, people are supposed to be incredible friendly, a very health directed culture with so much outdoorsy activities being a thing.  This place looks like a country of which dreams are made.

Wellington, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

Next trip on the list: Ecuador.  Both, because the country itself is supposed to be beautiful, and because its a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Galapagos Islands.  Also, Ecuador is said to be quite inexpensive, a plus.

Laos looks awe inspiring and stunning.  With its imposing waterfalls, soaring mountains, blazing rice fields, all taken in at the delightfully slow face of the Laotians way of life.  Zip lining, cave kayaking, and yoga are all popular pursuits here.  The food is supposed to be awesome too-sticky rice, papaya salad, and fresh fish.

There's a few far flung fantasy worthy locales for your consideration ;).  Many more on the list, to be sure.  To name a few: Bali, Japan, Turks & Caicos, China, the Arctic (this one I feel sure would be mind blowing.  Its also obscenely expensive).  However, the ones on the list above look pretty incredible, exciting, awe inspiring, and amazing, if I do say so myself.

What trips are on your dream list??

Have you been to any of the ones I listed above?  And if yes, what was your experience?


And, one of my favorite quotes ever...

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